The Securities Investor Protection Corporation warned last week that its name is being falsely used to try to extract personal information and money from consumers.

SIPC, which maintains a federally-mandated fund to protect customers of insolvent brokerage firms, said it's received reports of consumers being contacted by individuals who falsely claim to represent SIPC. The individuals have asked for personal information or payments, claiming they are needed to return funds they lost in investment scams.

Some of those contacted are people who either have lost money in investment scams or been contacted in the past by perpetrators of such scams, SIPC officials said.

Fraud victims have been contacted by e-mail or telephone and asked to pay a fee to SIPC recover their lost money. As part of the scam, consumers are also asked to submit a form filled with personal information.

"When the liquidation of a brokerage firm is handled by SIPC, investors with missing stocks or cash do not pay a fee for recovery of those assets,''  SIPC President Stephen Harbeck said. "Any individuals contacted by supposed representatives of SIPC who request an upfront fee or personal information should be extremely wary."

For more information, contact Sipc at or 202-371-8300.

-Jim McConville